High school senior Spencer Roper is Dawson Countys 2012-13 STAR Student, and Mike Williams is the STAR Teacher for the second year in a row.
Roper scored 2,000 out of a possible 2,400 points on the SAT to become STAR Student.
Ive always been a good test-taker, he said. The first time I took it (the SAT), I think I got an 1890. I didnt expect to increase that much on my second try.
Roper chose Williams as the STAR Teacher. Williams was STAR Teacher last year, chosen by STAR Student Grant Shope. Williams, who has taught English at the high school for nine years, has been in the field for 16 years.
The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program honors Georgias outstanding high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development, according to the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundations website, pagefoundation.org.
Qualifications include having the highest score on the SAT, as well as being in the top 10 percent or in the top 10 students of the class based on grade point average.
Spencer Roper certainly fits this description, said Principal Dr. Jute Wilson. It is quite an accomplishment for him to receive this honor in such a talented senior class. However, nobody that knows or has taught Spencer is surprised.
Williams said he was honored to be chosen STAR Teacher again. This means everything, in my humble opinion, he said. It validates who you are, and it means that someone appreciates something you did, whatever that might be.
Dr. Wilson said Williams is a top notch teacher.
Like Spencer, to be named the STAR Teacher in a building full of outstanding educators is quite an accomplishment, he said.
Williams called the honors class he teaches intimidating, saying that Roper is on a different level.
It took me some time to realize just how smart a lot of these kids are, he said. Spencer hold himself to a high standard. As a human being, he is the top of his class. As a citizen, he is kindhearted and genuine. He is the real deal. He has a heart of gold.
The real deal plans to follow in his mothers footsteps and become a pharmacist after graduating from the University of Georgia.
Since high school, medicine has always intrigued me, he said. I have always been interested in everything we learn in Mrs. Sanders class. (Donna Sanders is the high schools health and medical teacher.)
Stacy Martin, assistant principal of curriculum, pointed out that Roper is eligible for the prestigious Zell Miller Scholarship.
Since they have changed the criteria for the scholarship, we have very few students who meet the new criteria, she explained. We have students who meet the 3.75 GPA requirement, but we dont have too many who also meet the SAT scores of 1200 or higher, or an ACT score of 26 or higher. Its very hard to meet both of those.
Staff writer Angela Williamson contributed to this report.